Trump’s Rural Support Puts Democratic Bulwark Minnesota In Play

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Deb Ibanez, who proudly displays Trump banners and lawn signs outside her home in Aitkin, Minn., is part of President Trump’s firm base in this rural part of the state. Ibanez says she’s worried about voter fraud and doubts about the outcome of the election.

Mark Zdechlik/MPR News


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So, this former Clinton voter is backing Trump.

«The Republican Party is kind of speaking to my heart more than the Democrats,» Gretchen said.

Not long ago, Democrats had solid support in much of rural Minnesota, but that’s eroded. Bill Pick, leader of the Aitkin County Democratic Party, says he did not see the turn coming. He calls it «mind boggling.»

«It’s really sad to see that there’s a potential of Minnesota going to be a red state,» Pick lamented while sitting at a picnic table at a park in Aitkin.

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Bill Pick, leader of the Aitkin County Democratic Party, called the erosion of support for Democrats in rural Minnesota «mind boggling.» «It’s really sad to see that there’s a potential of Minnesota going to be a red state.»

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Republican state Rep. Dale Lueck has been representing Aitkin and the surrounding area in the Minnesota Legislature since defeating a Democrat six years ago. He says growing support for Republicans in rural Minnesota has a lot to do with economics and urban Democrats’ environmentalism, which threatens new mining and fossil fuel energy jobs.

«It should be no surprise that people are just plain done with the, ‘Oh no, we can’t do anything here because we might hurt the environment,’ and we’re just not going to take it anymore,» Lueck said.

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State Rep. Dale Lueck. represents Aitkin and the surrounding area in the Minnesota Legislature. He says growing support for Republicans in rural Minnesota has a lot to do with economics and urban Democrats’ environmentalism, which threatens new mining and fossil-fuel energy jobs.

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Back in Aitkin County, most people will vote by mail this fall because of the pandemic. Deb Ibanez, who proudly displays Trump banners and lawn signs outside her home, says she’s worried about voter fraud and doubts about the outcome.

Given recent civil unrest, Ibanez fears there could be an uprising if Trump loses.

«I would pray that we as Republicans would graciously bow down to it, but I don’t know, you could be waking a sleeping giant, too,» Ibanez said.

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